Riot and Revelry in Early America
- Publish Date: 2/4/2002
- Dimensions: 6 x 9
- Page Count: 328 pages
- Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02141-6
- Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02219-2
“Riot and Revelry in Early America marks a new level of maturity in our understanding of the popular cultures of early America. The essays clearly demonstrate that early America was an integral part of a broader transatlantic tradition of popular disturbance and celebration. In no small way because of the strength of these essays, after long years in the wings America can now assume its rightful place in the history of transatlantic popular.”
“Riot and Revelry in Early America offers us an engaging reassessment of a well-studied field.”
“Each of these essays has the same depth and subtlety of analysis; each is rich in detail and evocative with fresh ideas. . . . Riot and Revelry is a pleasure to read, and demonstrates, if we need reminding, that the study of American history is still full of surprises”
“Riot and Revelry examines the ways in which early Americans used ‘rough music,’ sometimes called ‘skimmington’ of ‘charivari,’ to enforce community standards through vigilante action. The editors . . . have assembled ten outstanding essays that deal with a subject with which most historians have only a passing familiarity.”
“These twelve essays consider rough music, riots, parades, and festivals in early British North America. The authors explicitly draw on methods that French and British cultural historians pioneered and acknowledge their debt to historian Pauline Mair. . . . Consistently lively and readable, this collection will appeal to general and academic audiences of all levels.”
“Riot and Revelry is an important collection of essays that deserves the attention of the scholarly community.”
“(S)cholars of early America interested in popular culture, popular politics, and festive culture should pick up this stimulating volume.
Riot and Revelry in Early America offers detailed case studies with fresh insights into the position of rough music in the colonies, including the nomination of it’s appropriate and legitimate uses that involved whole communities and not only the crowds.”
“This exciting collection of essays offers a taste of recent scholarship on protest and celebration in early America.
In sum, the essays on festive culture in early America serve as models for future study of rough music, with their detailed attention to context and change over time.”
Riot and revelry have been mainstays of English and European history writing for more than a generation, but they have had a more checkered influence on American scholarship. Despite considerable attention from "new left" historians during the 1970s and early 1980s, and more recently from cultural and "public sphere" historians in the mid-1990s, the idea of America as a colony and nation deeply infused with a culture of public performance has not been widely demonstrated the way it has been in Britain, France, and Italy. In this important volume, leading American historians demonstrate that early America was in fact an integral part of a broader transatlantic tradition of popular disturbance and celebration.
The first half of the collection focuses on "rough music" and "skimmington"—forms of protest whereby communities publicly regulated the moral order. The second half considers the use of parades and public celebrations to create national unity and overcome divisions in the young republic.
Contributors include Roger D. Abrahams, Susan Branson, Thomas J. Humphrey, Susan E. Klepp, Brendan McConville, William D. Piersen, Steven J. Stewart, and Len Travers. Together the essays in this volume offer the best introduction to the full range of protest and celebration in America from the Revolution to the Civil War.